December 1, 2011 4 Comments
Tonight as I warmed up for my lesson, Christy and I talked about what Liz had captured when she shot some video (unknown to me) a few nights ago. For your reference here it is – three minutes of fairly uninspired riding.
A few things are apparent from this video. First and foremost, I’ve lost the position I’ve been working on – my hip angles are closing a bit, and I’m pitching forward, which on Derby is like stomping the brakes. Secondly, the contact is really inconsistent – we’re only round and on the bit oh, maybe 30% of the time. At about 2:00 I do manage to correct myself (somewhat) but at this point it also becomes apparent that I’m acceptng a pretty ho-hum trot from Derby. Forward is still an issue.
So Christy set some new priorities for us, starting with forward, which will help with both the consistency of our content and gait quality. She also threw trot poles into the mix, to encourage a more dynamic trot. We got some good work going to the left and got some fancy footwork over the poles. Then we took walk break, talking through a few things, and I picked up the reins to go back to work. Derby, on the other hand, was checked out. He was done, or so he thought. Bless his furry little soul, he was wrong. We still had a good 20 minutes to go in our lesson.
To say that forward was a problem would be an understatement. After getting no response when I asked him to move forward, I booted him into a canter. As you can see in the video above, I had to pop him with the whip a few times to keep him going. After that canter interlude, however, we got some really good work, right before the 3 minute mark. From that point onward, I was able to keep Derby forward with consistent contact.
What was different? A few things. First and foremost, I rode proactively, making corrections, half halting – essentially managing every stride. Secondly, I really tried to maintain a balanced position. And finally, I really kept my core engaged. Wow, what a difference. Around 2:55 in the video, we start to get some of our best work ever. Derby is uphill – we even generate some suspension.
“THAT is your working trot!” Christy exclaimed. “That’s the show ring trot!” I have to make this the new normal.
PS: This is for those who say that riding isn’t hard work. Look at the steam roll off me after living through my lesson with Christy!